Quietest HD/Headphone-out mp3 player?
May 4, 2004 at 5:48 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

jpelg

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My six-month old Archos Jukebox Recorder 20 is developing a very noisy hard drive. Kind of a high-pitched whine. The noise is prominent every time the disk spins up (boot-up, file navigation, playing music), and is heard not only externally (with the unit held up to my ear), but also thru the headphone-out, which is extremely annoying thru my Ety's (ER4P's). I've read where others have experienced this as well, even though this did not seem to be the case for mine until now. I don't have reason to question the integrity of the hard drive ATM, but that is always a possibility, of course.

My question is that, since a replacement warranty was purchased thru CC when I got the Archos, I can probably return it for a substitute. Of the players currently available at CC, which has the quietest hard drive and/or headphone-out?

Creative Nomad Zen Xtra 30G - $269
RCA 40 GB Lyra - $299
Rio Karma 20GB - $299
Apple iPod - $299-$499 (15-40GB)

I loved my old, 2nd-gen iPod (10G), and only sold it to get a bigger HD and a digital-out. I no longer require the digital-out, and never should have sold it. I would have to pay the difference between the original Archos price ($229) & the new player.

Are any of these players worth considering, or are some of the others on the market leaps and bounds better that I should consider buying somewhere else? Is the hard-drive noise prominent on most HD-based players (I don't recall this being a problem at all on my old iPod)? I've even considered the possiblity of going back to a CD-based mp3 player like the iRiver 550 if that were quiet, except that the convenience factor of a DAP is so great.

Any thoughts are appreciated. TIA.
 
May 4, 2004 at 5:51 PM Post #2 of 12

Bolt San

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Karma and iPod both have very quiet hard drives, and I don't hear them with canalphones, or anything else.

I don't hear static with either, also.
In terms of their other features I'd pick the Karma, though.
 
May 4, 2004 at 7:05 PM Post #3 of 12

halcyon

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I can hear the hard drive spin up on my Karma 20 GB (through the headphones). This means that the audio output isn't perfectly isolated from the digital/hd part.

Of course it is audible without headphones as well, because the case doesn't dampen the start up sound inside the enclosure.

However, during normal (non-classical) music I cannot hear this sound.

For me Karma is sufficiently good. All I would like to have is better battery times
smily_headphones1.gif
 
May 4, 2004 at 7:19 PM Post #4 of 12

TheBigDu

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only time i ever hear the HDD on my iHP-120 is when using the internal mic. to record something...I sure as hell don't hear it when listening to music
 
May 5, 2004 at 5:00 PM Post #6 of 12

Bolt San

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Quote:

Originally Posted by halcyon
I can hear the hard drive spin up on my Karma 20 GB (through the headphones). This means that the audio output isn't perfectly isolated from the digital/hd part.

Of course it is audible without headphones as well, because the case doesn't dampen the start up sound inside the enclosure.

However, during normal (non-classical) music I cannot hear this sound.

For me Karma is sufficiently good. All I would like to have is better battery times
smily_headphones1.gif



Karma has one of the best battery lifes, what format are you using for your files?
 
May 5, 2004 at 5:09 PM Post #7 of 12

ITZBITZ

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iPOD 40GB

Very nice build quality, easy to use, you've had one before and liked it and it now supports loseless files for maximum quality (even though a 160K M4A is probably fine for on-the-go listening and battery life).
 
May 25, 2004 at 11:55 AM Post #8 of 12

halcyon

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bolt San
Karma has one of the best battery lifes, what format are you using for your files?


Yes, Karma does have good comparative batter life, when comparison is done against other HD players.

However, as I also use portable cd players, there is no comparison on that front.

I use all formats flac, mp3 and ogg. I know that lower bit rate mp3/ogg files conserve battery better.

I'm considering switching over to OGG aoTuV beta 2 + QKTune beta 3.2 for my portable encoded files at 128kbps.

I participated in the latest 128 kbps listening test published at Hydrogen Audio and I couldn't distinguish between the original and properly encoded OGG (at 128kbps) on many of the samples.

regards,
halcyon
 
May 25, 2004 at 12:23 PM Post #9 of 12

rickcr42

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any mechanical storage device will produce some noise ,and it will increase over time as parts wear

the only way you get absolute silence is with a toally electronic storage medium like compact flah but the storage compacity would not be close


everything is a comprimise ,you decide on the priorities and then choose accordingly
 
May 25, 2004 at 12:24 PM Post #10 of 12

rickcr42

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any mechanical storage device will produce some noise ,and it will increase over time as parts wear

the only way you get absolute silence is with a toally electronic storage medium like compact flash but the storage compacity and features would not be close


everything is a comprimise ,you decide on the priorities and then choose accordingly
 
Jun 1, 2004 at 4:19 PM Post #12 of 12

RunsWithScissors

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rickcr42
any mechanical storage device will produce some noise ,and it will increase over time as parts wear

the only way you get absolute silence is with a toally electronic storage medium like compact flash but the storage compacity and features would not be close


everything is a comprimise ,you decide on the priorities and then choose accordingly



My iPod's drive is still as quiet as the day I got it. It is essentially silent - I can only notice it spin up when I transfer songs via my PC. I never hear it when I listen with headphones with or without music. I use Shure E5 which are very sensitive when it comes to the noise floor on your source and there is virtually no background noise from the iPod. I also don't hear the drive spin through the E5 when it does spin up to reload the buffer while playing music.

While I completely agree with rickcr42 statements in general, a real world comparison of jpelg's 6 month old archos and my 14 month old 2G iPod seems to make a statement about product/parts quality difference (and perhaps also build quality and design) and how they hold up over time.
 

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